5 Travel Tips for the Holiday Period
Having lived in the UK for nearly 10 years now, and having travelled quite a bit, I’d like to think I’m quite experienced when it comes to travel matters. I’ve got the whole pre-travel, during travel and post-travel agenda sorted out in my head it’s almost second nature to me. So I thought what better thing to share on my blog than giving tips on how to travel what with the imminent holiday period.
So here are some tips that you might find useful the next time you travel.
1. Become a lean, mean cleaning machine!
There’s nothing like returning to a home that is spotless! Before I go away on holidays, I blitz the whole house! I vacuum, arrange everything around the house neatly, wash the bathroom and change the sheets. Bubbles always jokes that I must have been a cleaner in my past life so you can imagine the ruckus I cause especially the day before we travel, trying to get everything to look immaculate.
You see, I find returning home from my holidays quite depressing, so it helps returning to a house that is super-clean and smelling pine-fresh! And heaven forbid if we were to die in a plane crash, at least my family wouldn’t have to sob over my smelly underwear and unwashed plates!
2. Packing your travel bag
Thank God I’m not one of those overgrown baboons who travels with a teddy-bear. Seriously ladies, if you’re over 10, no stuffed animals in your luggage, please! I pack all my toiletries in miniature travel kits, and it’s just as well considering the liquid restrictions on flights. Even if I were going on a long haul flight and checking in luggage, I keep this to a minimum to save space for the goodies I might be returning with! My formula for underwear is “Number of days travelling + 1 = underwear to bring”. Yeah I know you can wash your underwear while on holidays, but if I’m going for less than a week, this is the most convenient method. I’m not into wearing my underwear inside out when I run out of a clean pair! Eww!
Unfortunately these days I’ve got to keep my clothes to a bare minimum ever since I got a DSLR. It takes so much space! How our priorities change in life…
Pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage. This is a lesson I learnt during my recent flight to Malaysia. Our flight to Singapore was delayed and we missed the connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur that night. We had to stay over at the airport hotel in Singapore and we had no clothes in our hand luggage! Of course we could have requested for our checked-in luggage but we didn’t want to lug it back through check-in the next day. It wasn’t a major disaster, but still it could have been more comfortable travelling in clean clothes the next day. But wait till you see No. 5 – you’ll understand why in some cases it’s crucial you travel with clothes in your hand luggage!
Some destinations require medicines. Like India. Enough said.
3. Make a list
Didn’t we just cover packing? Why a list now then? Aha. It’s not a packing list…it’s a list of things to eat! I seriously make a list, especially if I’m travelling back to Malaysia, my home country. Do you know how much there is to stuff your face with? The list is quite exhaustive: satay, loh bak, wantan noodles, dim sum, petai, char koay teow, ciku, rambutan, mangosteens… you can get some of these here in the UK, but it’s not always the same, especially satay. Yum! I make this list on my phone and check them from time to time to make sure I’ve ‘covered’ them all! Unfortunately, the next time I go, the list would have shrunk sizeably due to my recent pescatarian diet. I hope I don’t regret it!
I also make a list of things to buy, especially when I’m returning to Malaysia. Usually this would be spices and clothes, but the next time there’s going to be one additional thing on my list: DSLR lens. It’s dirt cheap there. Check what’s cheap where you’re going – you could save a mini-fortune by buying some stuff abroad. (That’s what happens when you pile on the VAT, Cameron! Some of us would be contributing to the economy of other countries instead!)
4. In-flight tips
When I travel alone, I prefer the window seat. Actually I prefer the window seat. Period. But it especially helps when you’re travelling alone, as you can doze off with the confidence that no one will wake you to go pee/poop/barf. If you’re scared of flying I wouldn’t recommend the window, though. Now’s not the time to see the teeny-weeny crack in the window and wonder how old the plane is…
Another flight tip: travel with your own Bubbles, if possible, (remember Bubbles?) whomever that might be. Bubbles lets me put my feet up on his so I can sleep with my legs stretched as far as possible. Comes close to travelling first class! 🙂
Yet another tip: watch out for empty seats like a hawk. If you find the 3 or 4 middle seats empty, you’ve hit jackpot: stretch yourself nicely over the seats and go to sleep!
5. Packing for the return trip
Packing for your return trip is easy-peasy if you haven’t done much shopping. What went in in the first place can go back in! But what do you do when you’ve bought so much stuff they don’t fit into your bag? Roll, baby! No, I don’t mean roll a joint in frustration, or forget packing and start partying, I mean, roll your clothes. Fold them first, then roll them as much as you can so they can be squeezed into every nook and cranny. Trust me on this one. You’ll be amazed at how much space you’d be left with in your luggage.
What do you do when you’ve bought so much they can’t fit into your luggage, or worse, they fit but your luggage is too heavy? Always, always weigh your bag if you think it is going to exceed the weight limit at check-in. I once weighed it, and knowing it was too heavy went to the airport in the hope that the airport weighing scale might record it a few kilos lighter. Fat hopes. It was even heavier (I can feel a conspiracy theory on this one). What did I do? Executive decisions had to be made on what to chuck out.
I’m compelled to also put in writing what a friend recommended years ago. Wear two pairs of jeans and a few t’shirts to lighten the load. That will at least save you 1-2 kgs. Yes, it was you, Ada, (if you’re reading this) and no, I won’t ever be doing it! 😀
Pack a change of clothes in your hand luggage. My aunt had a serious case of Delhi-belly when travelling back from India and had a little mishap during her return flight. You don’t want to know the rest of the story but you get the picture.
So, there you go. Some travel tips you cannot do without. Happy travelling and happy holidays!